Experts still believe the National Guard delay on Jan. 6 was politically driven -- even after this week's testimony
As a number of officials testified during congressional committee hearings held this week to examine how things went awry amid at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, they attempted to place blame on others refusing to accept accountability for the deadly events that transpired on that fateful day.
According to Talking Points Memo, former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller explained why he made the decision to hold back. In his opening statement, he noted the "already-tense atmosphere surrounding the day, alluding to calls by Michael Flynn for Trump to invoke martial law and a Washington Post op-ed by all 10 living former defense secretaries calling on Miller by name not involve the military in election disputes."
However, experts point to a number of other issues that likely contributed to the obstacles Capitol Police faced during the insurrection. Weighing in with their take on the Capitol insurrection, multiple experts laid out their grievances with the egregious response:
Per the publication, experts believe the following are to blame for what created "a perfect storm" at the U.S. Capitol: "an egregious lack of preparation, a reluctance to take a clear threat seriously and a wariness about stepping on a volatile President's toes seem to have added to layers of complexity and confusion atop those fears."
"The politics were pretty crummy because of that incident outside the White House," Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Steve Blum, former chief of the National Guard Bureau, told TPM. "I think they wanted to avoid those optics."
The former Defense official claims he believed the presence of uniformed troops could have made things worse as he cited concerns about previous calls to invoke martial law. Since overuse of law enforcement sparked outrage last summer when Black Lives Matter protesters were aggressively dispersed from Lafayette Square, Miller claimed he feared a repeat of that episode.
However, experts do not believe that is the case. Since the entire day was fueled by former President Donald Trump's rhetoric and Big Lie claims about the election being stolen from him, experts believe the Trump-appointed Defense Secretary's actions were politically driven.
Juliette Kayyem, a senior lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government who also served as former assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Obama administration, made it clear that she did not buy the explanations because those in authority "should have known better."
"Those who were involved should have known better — or were chosen because they didn't know better," Kayyem, said, adding, "Miller tried to confuse people who don't know how this works by saying he can't just make a phone call and deploy people — if that's happening you already made a mistake," Kayyem said. "That call should have happened three weeks before."
She also did not buy the claim that Miller was concerned about optics. "No one is saying they should have put the military solely in charge; the military should have been in a support function like we do all the time," she said.
Blum also noted that there were alternative options that could have been incorporated to have military personnel in place without them being in public sight unless the situation went awry.
"If this had been taken seriously, they would have called up the Guard a day or two before and brought them to the Armory close to the Capitol," Blum said. "They would have been ready if needed."
The former military lieutenant general also admitted that the only time these types of delays occur is when politics enter the picture. Blum added, "There's no delay when they need it," Blum said of the Washington D.C. National Guard. "The only time there's a delay is when politics enters into it — and obviously, that's what happened."
Republicans have a decent chance of taking control of the House of Representatives in the 2024 midterm elections. Even if Presidet Joe Biden remains popular, the fact that Republicans are only short a majority by 5 seats, combined with the fact that they control the redistricting process in more states than Democrats, give them a good shot.
But the GOP shouldn't expect smooth sailing if Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker. On the contrary, noted The New York Times, Republicans assuming control of the House could tear open wounds between Trump supporters and skeptics within the party and cause more leadership turnover, as with the ousting this week of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as conference chair in favor of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
The fundamental problem, wrote Giovanni Russonello, is that many of the Republican ranking members who would take over House committees in a GOP majority are part of Sarah Chamberlain's Republican Main Street Partnership, a relatively Trump-critical faction of the party, and their elevation might trigger a new wave of Cheney-like ousters.
"Although the House Republican Conference is now led entirely by a pro-Trump team, many of the top G.O.P. lawmakers on House committees have quietly resisted his takeover of the party," reported Russonello. "'If we get back the majority, we have a lot of our members leading committees,' Ms. Chamberlain said, referring to House lawmakers who belong to the Republican Main Street Partnership and have no love lost for Mr. Trump."
"This, of course, could spell only more dissension and division ahead of the 2024 presidential election, when the party's voters will have to decide whether to nominate a Trumpist candidate — maybe even the former president himself — or a more traditional Republican figure," concluded Russonello. "For now, the house remains divided."
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Republican campaign consultants, with an eye on the 2022 midterm elections, are worried that New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik's elevation to a GOP leadership spot -- and her close allegiance to Donald Trump -- will make their job harder as they try to make the next election about Republican policies and not the man who just lost them the White House and the Senate.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner, elements within the Republican Party are eyeing the midterms believing they can -- at the very least regain the House -- while also worrying about Donald Trump's plans to insert himself into the election.
With Stefanik in a high-profile spot, they worry she will be handing Democrats a weapon with her unwavering support of the former president.
According to the report, "Stefanik was elected in large part because she is viewed as an effective television communicator who is a team player with good message discipline. These characteristics are viewed as assets as the GOP seeks to wipe out narrow Democratic majorities to win back control of Congress in next year's midterm elections."
However, the Examiner notes, she comes with a major downside.
"But the clear political upside of Stefanik's embrace of Trump, who has continued to claim the 2020 election was rigged against him or even stolen, has opened up obvious lines of attack for Democrats. It also raises questions about whether internal GOP pushback against what Trump is saying, which could serve to keep Stefanik and company talking about Trump," the report continues.
According to one GOP consultant, "They'll need to be very savvy in how they deal with this. The press will try to bait them into talking about Trump as much as Liz Cheney, just from the opposite direction."
Another GOP consultant was more candid about his fears.
"Democrats want the 2022 elections to be about Trump," he explained before lamenting. "We don't, or at least shouldn't."
You can read more here.
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